About 100 metres from the Bako National Park jetty and with a narrow entrance, it could easily be bypassed – or mistaken for another house. There is no signboard to show the way to the eatery and the old bazaar.
The restaurant is situated at the front of a row of eight shophouses, four of which are still operating in the dilapidated riverine bazaar. The other four have either been abandoned or demolished by their owners due to their time-worn condition – and perhaps lack of business.
For the operators of the Bako Seafood Restaurant – Helen Chong, in her 40’s, and her 50-year-old KL-born husband, Chia Kwai Hwa – they have been renting the present old corner shop since 1997. As both are food lovers and love cooking, what better way to earn a living than through their hobby.
“I have been involved in the food business before my husband and I started this restaurant,” said Chong who used to work in the Miri Seafood Restaurant and a few hotels in Brunei.
“Since my husband also love cooking, we naturally thought of opening a restaurant. That was how we got started 16 years ago,” she told thesundaypost.
Chong had hoped the elderly owner of the shop would part with his more than 80-year-old property but so far, he has turned down her offer to buy the place.
Chong believed the bazaar had a bright future if renovation were carried out to create an conducive atmosphere for food operators and other tourism-related ventures in the area.